In a statement released on Wednesday, the Catholic League criticized the HBO special âCelibacy,â a documentary in the âAmerica Undercoverâ series, aired on June 28..-
The documentary purports to be an examination of celibacy as it is practiced in the worldâs religions.
According to the Catholic Leagueâs statement, âafter a cursory glance at celibacy in eastern religions, if focuses almost exclusively on Roman Catholicism. The overall theme is voiced at the outset: âThe worldwide crisis in the Catholic Church begs many questions: Is sexual denial healthy? Or can it become something dangerous? Is there any link between enforced celibacy and an apparent epidemic of child abuse by the clergy?ââ
âIt is not for nothing that the term âenforced celibacyâ or âimposedâ is repeated constantly,â said Catholic League president William Donohue. âBy doing so, the message of coercion is made explicit.â
âFor example âhe continued- we learn that the Catholic Church formally invoked the discipline of celibacy in 1139 as âa powerful tool for controlling its army.â Similarly, we discover that âThe need to suppress the most powerful drive on this planet is the key to understanding many Catholic practices and rituals.â To drive the point home, a bloody video of self-flagellating Filipinos on Good Friday is shown.â
âThe viewer is also treated to the perspective of an embittered ex-priest, Richard Sipe, who asserts that homosexuals and sociopaths are drawn to the celibate priesthood, a comment that should go over big in the gay community,â continued the statement.
âMoreover, stories of sexual abuse are described in graphic detail, if only to contrast them with happy tales of priests who bolted and married. Then there is Robert, a pedophile priest who admits that castration set him free.â
âFinally, there is Archbishop John Foley, a Vatican official who is set up to appear foolish. After distorting the travails of Galileo, the clincher question is delivered: âHow long will it take the Church to come to terms with the nature of human sexuality?â The video cuts immediately to Archbishop Foley, who says, âI do not see any connection between mandatory celibacy and inappropriate sexual activity.ââ
âIn short, the HBO special on âCelibacyâ is to truth telling about the Catholic Church what Michael Mooreâs âFahrenheit 9/11â is to truth telling about the U.S.-Iraqi war. Both are masterpieces of deception and propaganda,â concluded the statement.